Pfizer Subsidiary Fined for Defrauding Wisconsin Medicaid Program
For the City-Times
Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen announced this week that Pharmacia Corporation has paid $29,453,247 to partially satisfy a judgment entered against it by the Dane County Circuit Court.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice filed the lawsuit against Pharmacia, a subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc., and 35 other drug manufacturers in 2004, alleging that they violated Wisconsin’s Medicaid fraud statute and Deceptive Trade Practices Act by inflating their reported drug prices to increase pharmacies’ reimbursement from Wisconsin Medicaid. The jury trial against Pharmacia was conducted February of 2009; the jury found Pharmacia liable for Medicaid fraud and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and the court ordered it to pay damages, forfeitures, and costs of more than $22 million. After three years of appeals, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and the Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed the findings that Pharmacia defrauded the Wisconsin Medicaid program.
The $22 million trial court judgment has increased to more than $32 million after accounting for statutory interest. Pharmacia, however, disputes the interest calculation and has paid only $29 million. The disputed difference will be addressed in further litigation.
“This is great news for Wisconsin taxpayers. Pharmacia’s payment helps make the taxpayers whole for its fraudulent drug-pricing scheme against the Medicaid program,” Van Hollen said. “This also is a resounding affirmation of our contention that Pharmacia and some other pharmaceutical companies falsely inflated the prices of their prescription drugs. Their scheme defrauded the State and its taxpayers, increased employer healthcare insurance premiums, and raised the costs of prescription drugs for the uninsured.”
On August 1, the Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed Pharmacia’s Petition for Review and remanded the lawsuit for further proceedings before the Honorable Richard G. Niess in Dane County Circuit Court. Van Hollen stated that he was pleased by the Supreme Court’s ruling, noting that it will allow the remaining claims against more than twenty other drug manufacturers to move forward.
“Every Wisconsin court that has been presented with the facts regarding the pharmaceutical companies’ fraudulent drug pricing scheme has found in favor of the State. Now that the stay has been lifted against the remaining defendants, we’re another step closer to getting the State reimbursed for the overpayments it made for the falsely overpriced drugs.”
Wisconsin Medicaid is a healthcare assistance program for the needy and disabled jointly funded by the state and federal governments.